Alcohol body hires M&C Saatchi to cut binge drinking

LONDON - The UK's drinks industry has drafted in M&C Saatchi to curb alarming levels of binge drinking by young people.

The appointment has been made by the Portman Group, which was set up by the UK's leading alcohol producers to promote sensible drinking.

It signals an intensification of the group's activity next year and follows growing government concerns that the drinks industry is flouting its self-regulatory code.

Now M&C Saatchi is being briefed to implement the Portman Group's first fully integrated campaign which will run across TV, press, cinema and outdoor media and through the licensed trade.

It will begin with a three-month burst of regional activity backed by a £1m spend, before a planned national rollout.

It comes in the wake of a Downing Street study suggesting drunkenness is worse in the UK than in other European countries. A million people aged between 18 and 24 are believed to be drinking regularly to get drunk.

M&C Saatchi, which handles brands such as Foster's, Beck's and Kronenbourg, will extend the Portman Group's current campaign, which runs under the theme: "If you do do drink, don't do drunk."

Initially targeted at students, the campaign has since been extended to more than four million young adults aged 18 to 24.

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